Grow Where You are Planted!

      I am reminded every day of the incredible survivability of the Leland Cypress trees planted on the church property. We planted 234 Leyland Cypress trees not counting other trees and plants. What stands out to me is how the trees have grown where they were planted. Now, I need to point out that the quality of the soil is not consistent and they have not all grown at the same rate, but all, except 2 that we improperly planted, are thriving where they were planted.  

     I am reminded by the account of Joseph, that he also thrived where he was planted. My mind is thinking of one of his last trials before becoming the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. He grew in the face of the jealously of his step brothers. He grew as a slave in Potiphar’s house. And he even grew in an Egyptian prison after being falsely accused. It is not hard to imagine a person giving up on God, giving up on himself, giving up on others or giving up his faith. But Joseph did not of these, instead he continued to grow in the Lord and thrive where he was planted!

     We read after landing in prison, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.” (Genesis 39:21–22) Yes, God was looking out for Joseph as the text reminds us. We must also note the Joseph did not give up on God. The clearest statement of his faith is revealed in Joseph’s response to Pharaoh’s request to interpret his dream. Joseph’s response reveals what was in his heart and what he was thinking. He responded, “Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”” (Genesis 41:16) I want you to stop and think about this for a moment. Faced with repeated life altering difficulties, Joseph did give up on His Creator. It has been stated, when faced with difficult life situations we have two choices, “Grow Bitter” or “Grow Better!”

     The key to growing through life’s difficulties is holding onto God’s promises. Choosing to focus on God’s numerous promises that remind us of His continual working in our lives, just as we see happening in Joseph’s life. One great promise to hold onto during those dark days is His promise, “for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”” (Hebrews 13:5b)  We also know that trials are part and parcel of God’s working in me. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

     Let me leave you with one last verse that has been an encouragement to me to invest in learning God’s promises to me. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

  -Pastor Joe Parkinson

A Time to be Thinkful!

      Thanksgiving is a great season! I am sure that many of us appreciate time with family and friends, great food and a lot of it, a day off and most of all the chance to be “thinkful” for what the Lord has done in our lives. No, that is not a typo, but an… Continue Reading

The Return on Obedience

      The story is told of an elderly missionary couple who were returning home on a ship after many years of sacrificial service in Africa. On the same ship was Theodore Roosevelt, who had just completed a highly successful big game hunt. As the ship docked in New York harbor, thousands of well-wishers and dozens… Continue Reading

A Thought on Blaming God

      It never surprises me how quickly we can be to jump to conclusions and assign blame. Several years ago, while traveling to an event with a couple guys, the conversation turned to a recently revealed million-dollar highway construction error discovered in a recently constructed ramp for the Sprague exit on Highway 16. The newly… Continue Reading

Following Christ is Hard!

      I was recently reflecting on different areas of life. I am reminded at how hard each phase of life can be. The married phase represents one of the greatest challenges, living out an intimate relationship with someone different than ourselves. It does not stop there. We could ponder the challenges of the sleepless nights… Continue Reading

Why Do I Do What I Do?

      Many years ago, I heard the story of a gal that was cooking a Christmas dinner. She planned on carrying on her family’s tradition of having ham. She planned to prepare the ham as her mother had done for decades. Her mother always cut off the ends of the ham before putting it into… Continue Reading

I Will Walk in Integrity!

      There is not a week that bad news does not douse our lives. It could be an unexpected diagnosis or the latest current events pour through our media feeds. It seems like the believer’s soul is under constant deluge of the preponderance of manifested evil. During these times that we must find our joy… Continue Reading

Thoughts on Spiritual Victory!

      It is easy to believe that the “Big Iron” wins wars. It does, but not by itself. There are many factors contributing to battlefield success. One of the most important weapons is information. Information on your enemy. The best weapons and trained forces are nullified without proper guidance. Good intelligence is a force multiplier.… Continue Reading

Each Day, A New Opportunity!

     I have reached that stage in life that I benefit from wearing glasses. My wife is frequently asking if she can clean my glasses. While I greatly benefit from these additional “extra eyes,” I often don’t realize that my view is being obstructed. Often the smudges of life’s challenge keep us from seeing the… Continue Reading